Kuwait is a Middle Eastern country on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Like all nations around the world, Kuwait has been blessed with a rich history, limited demographics and a fascinating culture. The people of Kuwait are fortunate enough to enjoy many of the same luxuries that Western societies do, but the culture is significantly different. Like the United States, Kuwaitians also have their own unique historic timeline as well. The people of Kuwait profess many different religious beliefs, and are not forced to be tied down to just one. Kuwaitians are a unique people who live their everyday lives just like we do. It is fascinating to consider the cultural differences that separate the two societies and the differences in our historic backgrounds when thinking about how we compare with the people of Kuwait.
Much like the United States, people began colonizing and resettling on the Northeast portion of the Arabian Peninsula in the 1600’s. This part of the Middle East, which is now modern day Kuwait (BBC, 2016), was originally part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1756, this country came under control of the predecessors of Kuwait’s original rulers. However, ottoman Turkey still has a sense of semi-authority over this country for the next 150 years or so. Kuwait was subject to the rule of various empire until 1961, when the country became independent.
In Kuwait, religion, family and food are some of the most defining factors of Kuwaitian culture. Lunch is often the most important meal of the day, in which families often eat a feast together in the privacy of their own homes (UFL, 2016). This could be explained by the country’s Islamic tendencies. Kuwait also has a semi-Islamic constitution, which plays a role in some of the laws and customs in the country. For example, per Muslim tradition, alcohol is prohibited throughout the country. These Islamic beliefs are reflected in the way that people conduct themselves and are grouped together. It is socially unacceptable for women and men to publicly kiss, and it is also common for men and women who are not related to each other to be segregated.
While these social beliefs may differ noticeably from that of the United States’, the people of Kuwait also share similarities in social norms. While it is not culturally acceptable for men and women to kiss on the cheek in public, this along with a handshake is a standard greeting between two men. This precedes casual conversation, such as how the families of each man are doing as well as their health, happiness and so on. Islam is the predominant religion in Kuwait. This is made clear through the customs of the people as well as the types of clothes they wear, food they eat and how the people conduct themselves. The vast majority of the people residing in Kuwait are non-Caucasian and are from the lands which are close by, namely throughout the Middle East, Asia, and parts of North Africa (Central Intelligence Agency, 2016). This likely plays a large role in the heavy Islamic influence throughout the country.
The people of Kuwait are used to living by customs and lifestyles that many Americans would not be used to. This is influenced by their historical background and geographical location. Kuwait can still be considered as a humble nation with many of the similar values that we have. Even though the genders tend to be segregated, other core values such as common courtesy and close family ties exist in Kuwait. Their unique values are influenced primarily from their religion, which is the cornerstone of the way that many Kuwaitians live their lives.
- BBC. (2016, September 28). Kuwait profile – Timeline. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-14647211
- Central Intelligence Agency. (2016). Kuwait profile. Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ku.html
- UFL. (2016). About Kuwait- Culture. Retrieved from http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/spring06/eisa/culture.htm